After reviewing several concept sketches with the homeowners, a final design was approved. A detailed set of plans were drawn, permits were secured and the project was started.
The first order of business was sitework. It’s important to get the property cleared of materials you don’t want and organized with the materials you intend to keep and reuse. This is part of the strategic planning that determines how efficiently the project moves along.
Some of the preliminary sitework included:
- Preparing desirable, existing plants for transplant.
- Disassembling the decorative wood fence & arbors.
- Removing old chainlink fence.
- Removing existing timber walls, wood steps and platforms.
The large evergreens that once divided the upper and lower properties were being moved and staged at another spot in the yard for future use.
With the timber wall removed and the fence set aside, we were getting a chance to see the house from the lower area and vice versa. This was one of those key stages in the project where you could see progress in the direction of the major goal, i.e. integrating the two previously separate spaces.
Vertical elements like fences and plantings can direct views, block views and define spaces. Anticipate their effects in the design, and realize that the plantings will continue to grow and magnify those effects.
The property was now essentially cleared and organized. The next phase of sitework could begin.
Truckloads of fill dirt were brought in to create a natural slope where the timber walls once stood. Large fieldstone boulders were being delivered to be used for retaining the slope and as natural “rock-outcroppings,” just as you would see in nature.
Sitework and engineering are what make up the foundation of the landscape. This is true no matter what size the property is. On larger projects like this the elevations, grades and drainage are usually shown on the site plan. Inevitably these get tweaked and refined as the work progresses.